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Can we use a prenuptial agreement to figure out pet custody?

As we discussed in this blog back in December, many pet owners in Minnesota feel nearly as close to their pets as they do to their children. But unlike with children, divorce law does not provide for “dog custody.” Instead, companion animals are considered to be personal property, and courts treat them accordingly, usually awarding them to one spouse or the other.

This means that if a divorcing couple wants to control what happens to the family pets, they may have to figure out the animals’ fate themselves. According to WCNC-TV, one possible way to do that is to draw up a pet prenup.

Just as couples can plan for a possible future divorce by agreeing to a division of property plan in a prenuptial agreement, in many states couples can decide before they get married who will walk away with the pets in case they end up divorced. If they want, they may arrange “shared custody” or “parenting time” so that both exes can continue to visit and play with a beloved pet.

Pet prenups have been in the news lately, after it came out that country singers Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton were getting divorced. WCNC reports that the couple had a prenuptial agreement that includes a “custody” plan for their pets.

Some people are reluctant to create a prenup, because it seems like an admission that their upcoming marriage might not last forever, or that the prenup might actually put a curse on their relationship. But for those going into a marriage with significant assets, having a prenup can bring peace of mind, and may even help the relationship.

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